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Council wants to ban cars and lorries from part of the quays in Dublin

Dublin City Council has revived a plan for a two-way cycling route along the quays between Heuston Station and the city’s docklands.

Quays A map of the proposed rerouting of car and cycle traffic around the north quays in Dublin city centre. Source: Dublin City Council transport report

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has proposed a two-way cycle route along the north quays in Dublin city centre in a new report compiled by planners.

The report, seen by TheJournal.ie, will be presented to the City Council’s transport committee this afternoon. It would see a continuous cycle path along the River Liffey, from Heuston Station to Dublin’s docklands.

Due to the narrow roadway along part of Ellis and Arran Quays, car and lorry traffic will be diverted from this 450 metre-long stretch, between Blackhall Place and Church Street, along a parallel route through Smithfield.

Buses and taxis will retain full access to the quays, and motorists will also be able to drive almost 4km of the 4.4km stretch.

It follows the decision, last week, by the Mayor of Paris to ban private cars along stretches of the Seine.

Riverside

Last May, the council decided to move the original Liffeyside cycle path away into back streets behind Croppies Acres until Church Street.

In this latest report, Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services for the environment and transportation department of Dublin City Council, said they had revisited the “iconic” riverside cycle route option, as the back-street option would not provide full segregation and drew opposition from the National Council of the Blind.

In the report to be presented today, he writes:

In light of the negative commentary received in relation to Option 5, it was decided to completely review all options for the Liffey Cycle Route from Church Street Bridge to Frank Sherwin Bridge in order to meet the requirements set out both in the original project brief and the clearly stated preference of the transport committee members.

Dublin City Council has been trying to develop a segregated cycle route along the north quays since 2012, but the plan has been buffeted by opposition from some business groups.

However, a snap poll on Twitter by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce this week indicated strong support for the new plan to ban private traffic along a particularly narrow stretch of the quays.

Allocation

Nine cyclists have died in Ireland this year, and several have been injured, including a hit and run in Dublin, a collision with a taxi; a cyclist fatally knocked off his bike on a cycle lane; and deaths in KerryLouth and a boy in Offaly.

Cllr Paddy Smyth said he would vote in favour of the new plan.

“With regard to the impact on the private motor car, it always struck me a ludicrous that someone could look at the Liffey’s majestic riverscape and think to themselves, “what this needs is a dual-carriageway either side!” he told TheJournal.ie.

“I regret however that Croppies Acre will not be now extended to the quayside. It is a missed opportunity to turn an unused space into a fantastic waterside amenity.”

Smyth added said that it could be a while before any vote takes place, as the entire project – Luas Cross City, College Green plaza, Liffey cycleway and Dublin Bus reroutes – may require an environmental impact assessment.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign, which drew up to 1,000 people to a protest against the low allocation (around 1%) of transport funding for cycling and walking this week, is hopeful the plan will succeed.

Return on investment

The campaign wants 10% of transport funds to be dedicated for cycling and walking infrastructure, due to the high return on investment in terms of health and environmental benefits.

“We are very happy with the outcome of the report, but we realise it will be difficult to get through the council,” spokesman Colm Ryder told TheJournal.ie. ”We’d say to motorists that there are a number of positives in relation to the route that’s being suggested.”

The Green Party chairman of the council’s transport committee, councillor Ciaran Cuffe has welcomed the latest plan as a “reasonable compromise”.

If the strategic policy committee approves the entire Liffey Cycle Route (including today’s report), it is hoped that the entire scheme will proceed to public consultation.

Last week, Paris approved a plan to ban cars on a 3.3km stretch of riverside road cutting across the city. Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo hailed the move as a “historic decision, the end of an urban motorway and the taking back of the Seine”.

A centrepiece of her battle against pollution, the plan has gained 55% support among Parisians.

Read: “I said to her that look, you’re mad cycling in the city… it’s a death trap and she said ‘no, it’s cycle-lanes the whole way’”

Read: ‘It’s bananas!’: Fury as funding pulled for Dublin cycling projects

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